LAHORE           -       Left-arm spinner Anam Amin and middle-order batter Omaima Sohail are the new entries in the significantly improved, enhanced and performance-based PCB women’s central contract list for 2020-21, which will come into effect from July 1, 2020.

Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan and Diana Baig are the three players to get promotions at the back of international performances in the just-concluded 2019-20 season, said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman here on Friday. “The nine central contracts see an increase of 33 percent in the monthly retainers of the Category A players, while players in Category B and C will receive 30 and 25 percent rise, respectively. In a continuation to last year, Pakistan women’s team will travel business class on all flights longer than five hours.”

The PCB spokesman said separately, and as part of the PCB’s strategy to enhance the profile of women’s cricket, inspire and incentivise aspiring cricketers and bring it at par with men’s cricket, the PCB has introduced emerging contract list.

The nine-player list includes 16-year-old Syeda Aroob Shah, 15-year-old Ayesha Naseem (who made her Pakistan debut in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup this year), 22-year-old Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Fatima Sana, Kainat Hafeez, Najiha Alvi, Rameen Shamim, Saba Nazir and Sadia Iqbal (who won player-of-the-match award on her T20I debut against Bangladesh in October), he added.

“In a significant boost for the domestic cricketers, the match fee and event prize money have been increased by 100 per cent, while daily allowances have been increased by 50 per cent,” he added,

In addition and following a review of the 2019-20 season, the PCB has decided to retain Bismah Maroof as captain till the end of the 2020-21 season. However, it has also been decided not to renew the contract of head coach Iqbal Imam, who will now resume his duties in the high performance setup. Iqbal’s replacement will be made through an advertisement process.

Twenty-two-year-old Muneeba Ali, who made an impact with 292 runs at a healthy average of 58.40 in the National T20 Championship with a century and three half-centuries in five matches, has been included in the nine-player emerging contract list. The left-handed batter is joined by 16-year-old leg-spinner Syeda Aroob Shah, who bagged a player-of-the-match award on her ODI debut against Bangladesh Women in Lahore in November 2019 and was the highest wicket-taker in the national one-day championship.

The national women’s team is scheduled to feature in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier and the ACC Women’s T20 Cup in the next 12 months, while an U19 team will feature in the inaugural ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup.

Urooj Mumtaz, chair of the national women’s selection committee, while announcing the central contracts said: “On behalf of the selection committee, I would like to congratulate all the players who have received the central contracts. The selection committee had detailed deliberations prior to announcing the central contracts. International performances over the past 12 months, fitness standards and the players’ ability to contribute in both white ball formats were key measures that formed the criteria for the selection.

“Bismah and Javeria have been promoted to Category A, following leading performances with the bat in the last year. Over the last one year, Bismah scored 213 runs at an average of 42.60 in five ODIs and 236 at 39.33 in T20Is, while Javeria was the highest run-getter for Pakistan in T20Is with 260 runs including three half-centuries.

“Diana Baig has been promoted to Category B and she joins Aliya Riaz and Sidra Nawaz – both of whom have been retained in this category – as she topped the T20I bowling charts for Pakistan in the last 12 months. Leading the pace bowling attack she has shown tremendous improvement with control over the ball along with being an exceptional fielder.

“I am pleased for both new entries, Omaima Sohail and Anam Amin. Omaima has been added after being a consistent member of the side in both formats while Anam has been outstanding with the ball in T20 cricket, being the highest wicket-taker in the domestic and joint-highest in international circuit.

“We had to take some tough decisions and would like to emphasize and encourage those who have missed out to take this as an opportunity to improve their game and make a strong comeback. Nida Dar sees a demotion following her below par international season. However, she remains an integral member and I am confident in her ability and hope she will bounce back with strong performances. “An overall performance-based review will take place six months into the contracts, primarily to motivate the players to continue to excel, eliminating the element of complacency.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bismah Maroof on retaining her leadership role in both ODI and T20 formats for the upcoming season. She has been a phenomenal performer and has risen to the occasion whenever the situation demanded. I am confident that she will continue to inspire the national women’s team dressing room and keep our performance chart trending upwards.

“I am extremely delighted to announce the emerging contract category. Nine players have been included, comprising of talented individuals who have showcased their skill on the international and domestic stage, along with those future prospects who are on the fringes of the national circuit. The addition of this category will incentivise players to remain dedicated to the game, importantly increasing the pool of players and creating a competitive environment at the junior level,” Urooj added.